West Orange HS girls basketball team upsets University to advance to ECT final

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The third-seeded West Orange High School girls basketball team defeated second-seeded University, 41-29, in the Essex County Tournament semifinals doubleheader at Weequahic HS in Newark, Feb. 21.

Senior guard Mya Bembry scored 25 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked five shots to lead the Mountaineers, who improved to a 19-3 overall and will face fifth-seeded Immaculate Conception of Montclair in the ECT final on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Essex County College in Newark at 1 p.m. Immaculate upset two-time defending champion Newark Tech, 56-39, in the other semifinal.

Freshman guard Kiley Capstraw had six points and eight rebounds; sophomore guard Mackenzie Dover had six points and four rebounds and senior guard Ebony Odom Barnes had four points in the semifinal win.

Two of the Mountaineers’ three losses have come against University. In the two other Super Essex Conference-American Division meetings, University won, 44-40, Jan. 10, to end the Mountaineers’ eight-game winning streak to start the season, and won, 58-30, Feb. 5. The other loss was to Newark Tech, 66-33, Jan. 17 in a divisional game, but West Orange avenged that loss to Newark Tech with a 60-57 win on Feb. 14 at Newark Tech.

WOHS is in the ECT final for the second time in three years in the 45-year history of the tournament. The Mountaineers made their first ECT final in 2017 when they fell to Newark Tech, 55-53, in overtime as Newark Tech won it on a fast-break layup at the buzzer.

Immaculate Conception competes in the SEC-Liberty Division and has a 19-5 record. Newark Tech reached the three previous ECT finals. They lost to East Orange in 2016 before winning the past two ECT titles, beating West Orange in 2017 and University last season.